A low-key football game prohibited me from watching Downton Abbey on time last Sunday, but never one to be defeated, I made sure to catch up the next day. Things are coming full circle at Downton, and while change has always been met with reticence and fear, the Crawleys are coming to grips with the fact that change can no longer be ignored or put off.
The show often waxes poetic about the past and “how things used to be”, and I have to admit that it’s hard to watch some members of clan Crawley struggle with things that are no longer in their control (*ahem* Lady Violet, I’m talking about you). People react to change in different ways (for better or for worse), and all of that was made clear in the reactions of the family and servants to the decline of their way of life in this episode.
Barrow is being pushed out of his job, and there’s nothing he can do about it. I know Barrow has done some questionable things in his past, but I’ve always had sympathy for his character. And boy did my sympathies get the best of me in this episode. For starters, we know from the last episode that Barrow volunteered to teach Andy how to read. When Mr. C spotted Andy coming out Barrow’s room one evening, he automatically assumed Barrow was up to no good (because of his sexuality and all). Barrow cleared things up, but Mr. C made it clear that Barrow’s role as under butler just wasn’t necessary anymore. Because what estate still has an under butler these days? Of course, Downton can’t be run without a butler, so Mr. C’s role is absolutely necessary and safe *rolls eyes*.
The very last scene of the episode with Barrow sobbing in his chair was so poignant. He knows he’s out of a job, but doesn’t know what else he can do. This has been his life and now his livelihood is being taken away from him.
Elsewhere in the servants’ quarters, Anna and Bates are still worried about the pregnancy, and Daisy makes an infantile attempt to foil the flirtation between Mrs. Patmore and Mr. Mason. Oh yeah, Mr. Mason is definitely putting the moves on Mrs. P. It’s about time she got some attention!
Mr. C still doesn’t get it. I need for someone—anyone—to tell Carson that insulting his wife’s cooking and cleaning on a daily basis is not OK. Mrs. Hughes can’t even make coffee or make the bed right. I knew he had high standards but geez…
Lady Cora has just been named president of the new hospital, deposing her mother-in-law, Lady Violet. Ah hell. It’s about to go down. We’re still trotting along with this hospital storyline, and it has been decided that yes, the government will be taking control. The thing is, no one has told Lady Violet of her latest demotion. Isobel, Cora, and Dr. Clarkson decide to keep it a secret (though they tell Robert, Lord G) until things are made official, but methinks that’s not a good idea…
Speaking of Lord G, he’s still alive—for now.
Downton is open to the public, and there are mixed feelings about both upstairs and down. The money made during the affair will go to charity, and we get to see people doing the same thing that tourists of today do—paying money to go inside of castles and manor houses to see how people live(d). Buckingham Palace comes to mind. Anyway, the tour was an astounding success, and later in the episode, Tom suggests doing tours more often to help Downton sustain itself (much to the chagrin of the Crawleys).
Some believe that the sacrifice of privacy is necessary if they are to sustain their way of life while others believe that allowing people in the great home will take away the mystique of Downton, thus leading to the breakdown of the aristocracy. Carson even compares it to the same results as the French Revolution. He’s so dramatic.
Cora, Mary, and Edith win the award for worst tour guides ever. When the guests come in, some are really intrigued by the architecture, sculpture, and the art on the walls. Surprise! Surprise! The three hosts no absolutely nothing about the history of their house, saying things like:
“They were all rather marvelous and sort of living that life.”
“He built the houses of Parliament… or at least he finished them. He built lots of lovely, big buildings.”
When asked about a painting on a wall, Mary responded, “The little girl is a little boy, but who I could not say.”
Needless to say, the people weren’t impressed.
While Cora is failing at being a docent, Lady Violet storms in the house and yells at Cora in front of the guests. Now you KNOW she’s upset if she’s airing her dirty laundry and doesn’t care about it. She later tells her son Lord G that she’ll speak to Cora again once she adjusts to having a traitor in the family. Yikes!
Meanwhile, the Ladies’ Love Lives seem to be warming up. Both Lady Mary and Lady Edith get kisses from their new beaus (I’m here for Henry Talbot), and Lord Merton is still lingering around Lady Isobel. He has got to be most persistent man in the county. His soon-to-be-daughter-in-law comes to Downton with him to ensure that the she doesn’t agree with her fiancée Larry’s wicked behavior and his opinions can be changed, all in an effort for Lord Merton to get Isobel to marry him.
Listen, after all of this, Isobel better say yes so Lord Merton can put a ring on it!
Most Fashionable Moment: Mary at dinner with Tom, Henry, and friends. She. Slayed. As usual.
Kyndal is a free spirit who finds it very hard to describe herself. Tea Snob. Daydreamer. Sci-Fi/Fantasy & Book Blerd. Cursed with Wanderlust. Jams to show tunes. Obsessed with Hamilton (the musical). Always on the advent of her next adventure.